Businessman Leon ‘Bigger Biggs’ Samuel has found himself once more at the centre of a dispute over his property at Rabacca.
Samuel, whose company was force to close its crushing plant at Rabacca following controversial reports on operation and environmental impact on the area among other things some years ago, recently put a metal gate at the entrance to his property which consists of acres of land. Subsequently, he placed a large container across the access after persons forced access through the gateway.
As a result of the barring of access, persons who have farms beyond Samuel’s property have been affected adversely. This has led to a terrible dispute.
In an interview with Asberth’s News Network on Sunday, one farmer, Brent Black, gave some insight as to what may be happening.
Black said that as a farmer, he is being put in a position where “the blockage of this road is hampering the whole farming process.”
“The only way, as a paraplegic who is driving – I cannot walk – to access my farm, the only way to get there is to drive there. For the time being, this is the only road to the location, Black said.
“There is a history with regard to access beyond this point.. but at this moment all the farmers beyond this point are really feeling the crunch based on the blockage of this road Mr Bigger Biggs – Leon Samuel. So, that is tooth and nail as to what is transpiring at this moment,” he said.
Asked what he sees as a solution, Black said he “was told” there was an access road but farmers had difficulty accessing the road when Samuel set up his crushing plant in the area of the old road. He said Samuel put the access road through his road they “compromised.”
He said he understood Samuel’s position as a businessman seeking to do business on his property and as a society people have to “give and take.”
“Now that he has some issues that is affecting him, of course I understand that he wants to resolve the issues, but maybe instead of blocking the access so that all the farmers would be bearing this brunt of pressure, maybe what could have been done is to put back the road where it was and then deal with this issue if you don’t want farmers to pass through your land,” Black stated.
He said the fact that farmers are unable to access the old road, it is disenfranchising the farmers now.
“They can’t access the old road neither they can’t access the new road which he put. So, ideally, if you not going to open the road, the land is yours, we have to more or less look at the old road,” he said.
On the matter of a reported dispute between Samuel and government, Black said that regardless, the important issue is that farmers are affected to the extent that their produce “can’t leave properly” to get to the market. He said that whether the solution is to cut a by-pass road or it means Samuel reopening the previous road after some communication between both parties, “some level of arrangement must be made for the farmers.”
Responding to the question of the matter becoming out of control or leading to violence, Black said Samuel made certain comments on radio which he thought were not warranted and he also believed that it should reach that stage where farmers or Should be projecting a “don’t care” attitude.
“When a man cannot access his land and cannot sell his produce because of meaningful transportation, he gets frustrated. ‘Bigger has a concern. Whatever the concern is, I guess he is frustrated, too. You understand? But dialogue and a solution is the main point to have this issue resolved. I don’t want to see any violence. We, as a society, need to get away from this violent mentality. There should be a solution. If ‘Bigger’ don’t want people going into his land, my this is, there is an old road, cut back the old road,” Black stated.
Black said cutting the old road might involve removal of some of the equipment Samuel has in the area.
Black said that since the road was blocked, he has to be paying two men $100.00 “every other day” to transport water for his animals, noting that it is the “dry season.”